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Nerlens Noel

Scouting Report

Once considered the consensus top pick in the draft, Noel's status is not as clear after the Kentucky freshman sustained a season-ending knee injury Feb. 12. The big man faces a long recovery process, one which is expected to ultimately return him to the court around Christmas. His loss clearly impacted the Wildcats, who went 4-5 without him and missed out on the chance to defend their NCAA tournament title. Noel led the nation with 4.4 blocks per game and averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds while also coming up with 50 steals, helping him earn SEC top freshman and defensive player of the year honors. Considered the nation's top recruit last year, Noel was often compared to All-American Anthony Davis - the man he replaced in Lexington and the top overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets last season after leading the Wildcats to the national championship as a freshman. Both Noel and Davis excelled on the defensive end and are considered raw on offense. Noel has shed his crutches and is exercising without a knee brace since undergoing surgery March 12. If the Cleveland Cavaliers pass him over with the top pick, it's unlikely Noel would slip past the Orlando Magic at No. 2. But he has made it clear that he's aiming to become the third Wildcats player in four years (John Wall, 2010) to go first overall: "That would be a dream come true, to be the first pick in the NBA draft. That's something you dream about when you're a kid. I'd be very blessed to be in that position."

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